American has a rule whereby you can’t transit a third region on an AAdvantage award ticket when you’re traveling between two regions. There’s a list of exceptions, whereby you can transit a third region when traveling between two regions, but at times it sure doesn’t feel comprehensive.
In early June I had written about how American AAdvantage added an additional exception for connections in the Middle East. Specifically, they now allow connections on Qatar Airways in Doha when traveling between any of the following regions:
South America Zone 2 -> Africa (Europe still allowed as well)
Africa -> Asia 1 (Asia 1 still allowed as well)
Africa -> Asia 2
Europe -> Asia 1 (Asia 2 still allowed as well)
Europe -> Asia 2
Via JonNYC at TravelingBetter, it looks like American AAdvantage has added yet another award routing exception, this time for connections in Sri Lanka:
However, I just noticed in the very latest version, these exceptions added:
North America to Indian Sub Cont/Middle East
Central/South America Zone 1 to Indian Sub Cont/Middle East
South America Zone 2 to Indian Sub Cont/Middle East
Can now all connect in: Europe & Afghanistan/Bangladesh/Bhutan/British Indian Ocean Territory India/Nepal/Pakistan/Maldives/Sri Lanka.
Yes, those are some random countries to list, though most of that isn’t new. What’s new is that American now lets you connect in Sri Lanka when traveling between any of the above regions, which they didn’t previously allow. I expect this has to do with the fact that SriLankan Airlines joined oneworld just a couple of months ago.
Oddly American categorizes Sri Lanka as being in “Asia Zone 2,” so that can be a great value. For example, American charges 90,000 miles for first class to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent (which is where the Maldives is located), while they charge 67,500 miles for first class to “Asia Zone 2” (which is where Colombo is located). Colombo is only about an hour flight from Male, so that can be a great way to save 22,500 miles each way.
Why should we care about this changes?
In and of itself I don’t find this to be especially significant. What I am happy about, at least in theory, is that American seems to be liberalizing their region based award routing rules somewhat in a rational way. This makes perfect sense given that they were written before they had many of these partnerships, so at the time it was a moot point.
In terms of low hanging fruit I should point out that American still won’t let you route from the US to “South America Zone 2” via “South America Zone 1,” meaning you can’t connect in Lima on LAN when traveling between the US and Southern South America, even though it’s about as direct as it gets.
So yeah, it’s a minor change, but at least it’s something. There’s still a huge gap between American’s award routing rules and US Airways’ award routing rules, so here’s to hoping as they integrate systems they continue to liberalize routing rules… and not just in totally arbitrary ways, like here.